Java, the most populated island of Indonesia, is home to some of the most incredible volcanic landscapes in the world. Central Java and East Java are a must for your Indonesia itinerary.

The smoking craters at Mount Bromo and Kawah Ijen have become famous tourist destinations in Java, but this island is also dotted with jungles, ancient temples, and waterfalls galore.

This 1-week East Java itinerary will guide you through some of the unmissable highlights of Java that we visited on our first trip through the area, starting in Central Java and ending in west Bali.

You can click the links for more information on each of these sights as you go!


✈ Where To Start

The starting point of this Java itinerary is Yogyakarta in central Java, Indonesia.

Fly to Yogyakarta International Airport (YIA), which is served by a bunch of budget friendly airlines with good ratings. AirAsia often has flights from Singapore (SIN) or Kuala Lumpur (KUL) to Yogya for 1 million Rupiah ($70 USD), or flights from Bali (DPS) for only 600k Rupiah ($40).

You can shop for flights to Yogyakarta at Skyscanner.

You can also do this itinerary in reverse if you’d like, starting with the Bali ferry ride and then ending in Yogyakarta. The whole process will be largely the same!

• Day 1: Dieng Plateau

Kick off your Java sightseeing with a full day trip to Dieng Plateau in the volcanic highlands west of Yogyakarta, starting from town in the early morning hours to get there in time for an epic sunrise on Sikunir hill.

After the sunrise, go see the sulfuric lakes, hill terraces, smoking hot springs, and some of the oldest surviving temples on the island of Java.

More info: Dieng Plateau

Sunrise on Sikunir hill


• Day 2: Prambanan & Borobudur Temples

Prambanan Temple

Spend the morning exploring Prambanan, a group of massive Hindu temple ruins near Yogyakarta city in central Java. This temple is less famous than its cousin Borobudur, but I actually like this one best.

○ Borobudur Temple

Move on to Borobudur, a big 9th century Buddhist temple that is a bit further outside Yogya and is famous as the largest Buddhist temple in the world. Side note: you can swap the order of Borobudur and Prambanan on this day if you want to see the sunrise at Borobudur.

Borobudur Temple


• Day 3: Train To Malang

Take the 7:45 AM train from Yogyakarta Stasiun to Malang.

The train ride takes 8 hours and costs 170k Rupiah (~$12 USD) per person. Book your tickets online at or the KAI website, and then scan the e-ticket when you reach the station.

This train ride was actually one of my favorite parts of the trip! It’s comfy, scenic, and enjoyable. You get A/C and food, and some amazing views of the Java countryside.

• Day 4: Malang Waterfalls

Tumpak Sewu Waterfall

Start your day at the most impressive waterfall in Indonesia, Tumpak Sewu. The best lighting for photos is early in the morning, and it’s a 2 hour drive from Malang, so you’ll need to get a very early start!

Kabut Pelangi Waterfall

From Tumpak Sewu, drive another 10 minutes east to the trailhead for Kabut Pelangi. This is a huge waterfall worth the 45 minute hike!

Kapas Biru Waterfall

From Kabut Pelangi, drive another 10 minutes east to the trailhead for Kapas Biru waterfall. This one is a short 30 minute hike, but the waterfall at the end is incredibly scenic.


• Day 5: Coban Pelangi + Drive To Mount Bromo

Coban Pelangi Waterfall

This is a cool side trip you can do before the drive to Bromo. Coban Pelangi waterfall is a hidden beauty, located in the mountains 1 hour east of Malang.

○ Drive From Malang To Mount Bromo

Drive from Malang to Cemoro Lawang (the village at Mount Bromo). The distance from Malang is only 130 kilometers (80 miles), but be prepared for it to take 3+ hours. Get to bed early so you can be ready for Bromo!

Mount Bromo is one of the main highlights of this East Java itinerary, so you’ll want to do it justice.

Volcano X-ing

Before the sunrise


• Day 6: Mount Bromo Sunrise + Drive To Banyuwangi

Mount Bromo Sunrise

Wake up early and hike or drive to the sunrise viewpoint for Mount Bromo. Seeing these smoking volcano craters at the crack of dawn is a bucket list experience you’ll never forget.

○ Drive From Bromo To Banyuwangi

Drive from Bromo to Ijen (homestay nearby is best). The distance from Bromo to Ijen is 230 kilometers (140 miles) and the drive takes a whopping 6+ hours.

Sunrise At Mount Bromo


• Day 7: Kawah Ijen Crater + Ferry To Bali

Kawah Ijen Crater

Wake up early and hike to the Ijen Crater. It’s a tough hike and you have to start very early if you want to see the blue fire (optional), or at least get there by golden hour for the best photos.

○ Ferry To Bali

Cross from Java to Bali with the ferry at Ketapang. The trip takes 30-60 minutes and only cost us 8k Rupiah (less than one US Dollar) per person since we weren’t bringing any vehicle with us.

In Bali, you can book a private driver in advance to pick you up at the port (recommended), or you can negotiate for one when you land at the port. Either way, there will be an extra charge for drivers here, since the port is a long drive from the main tourist areas of Bali and it’s outside of most drivers’ normal service areas.

Welcome to Bali! The adventure is just getting started!

Kawah Ijen Mount Bromo Java Indonesia

Kawah Ijen crater lake

Ferry To Bali


When Is The Best Time To Visit Java?

The best time to visit Java is from April to November, when it’s more sunny and dry.

The rainy season runs from November to April. You can go during this time, but it may not be ideal for the waterfalls or sunrises.


Our East Java Driver

Starting from Malang (Day 3), we had a driver from Zaini Transport for the rest of the trip. He took us to all the waterfalls on this East Java itinerary, plus Mount Bromo and Ijen, and finally dropped us at the Bali ferry.

His daily price at Malang was 400k Rupiah + petrol, which worked out to be 620k Rupiah ($44 USD) for a full day visiting 3 waterfalls in Lumajang, then driving back to comfy Malang. His Bromo/Ijen rate was a little higher, but still the lowest I could find anywhere!

Our driver Dayat was punctual and very familiar with the area, so we had no trouble finding the waterfalls or other sights on this East Java itinerary. Highly recommended and much cheaper than booking a full tour package!

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mihai January 12, 2023 - 5:14 am

From the Bali ferry what and how did you get the transport, and how much it cost ? Thanks

David & Intan January 12, 2023 - 6:24 am

Hi Mihai. From the Bali ferry we arranged a private driver in advance, and he took us back to south Bali. You can book this on Klook, but make sure to mention that you will need pickup at the port in Gilimanuk. There will be an extra charge since it’s a long drive and the port is outside of most drivers’ normal service areas. Expect to pay 700k Rupiah or more for the drive, although you can ask them to show you places on the way. It’s also possible to negotiate for a driver once you arrive at the port in Bali, but I think it’s normally better and cheaper to arrange it in advance. Cheers

Hendrik March 6, 2023 - 4:32 am

What would you say is a reasonable price for the whole itenery starting in malang with a driver.
Including all tickets, fees and accomandation?
I got an offer from the comapany you mentioned but it seems pretty highy.

David & Intan March 6, 2023 - 4:38 am

Hi Hendrik. I would say maybe 3 to 5 million Rupiah for 3-4 days of driving and petrol, but it would definitely be higher if you include entrance fees and accommodation. I’m not sure what is a fair price in that case, since we paid for our tickets and hotels separately and only hired them for the transport. Cheers

Meghan April 21, 2023 - 12:42 am

Hello! Did you guys hike bromo or just drive to it at sunrise!

David & Intan April 21, 2023 - 1:18 am

Hi Meghan! We did both. You can read more about that in our full guide for Mount Bromo.

Meghan April 21, 2023 - 12:46 am

Did you have to pay for your drivers food and accommodation in east java?

David & Intan April 21, 2023 - 1:20 am

We didn’t pay for our driver’s food or accommodation. Some drivers may ask for that, though.

Feng May 26, 2023 - 1:26 am

How did you manage the transportation for day 1 and day 2? Did you book a tour, or rent a car to go to Dieng Plateau, Prambanan & Borobudur Temples?

David & Intan May 26, 2023 - 2:23 am

Hi Feng. For day 1 at Dieng Plateau, I would recommend going with a tour or a private driver. Here’s a Dieng tour with pickup from Yogyakarta.

For day 2 at Prambanan and Borobudur, there are several options, but I think a tour or driver is still a good way to do it. Prambanan is pretty easy to reach since it’s located right in the city, and you can even get to it with a taxi. However, Borobudur is outside of the city so it’s harder to reach. That’s why a combo tour makes sense if it’s in your budget. Here’s a good day tour that includes both Borobudur and Prambanan.

Amar June 6, 2023 - 11:52 am

Hey Devd & Intan !

Amar from india.

Your blog and details are one of the finest spot for anyone who considering for indonesia for sure.
i’ve reading few blogs since few days & your one stand out with much enough clean details!
Thank you for giving your time for us 🙂

Your 1 week Jawa hit me enough now wanted looking for one more week option apart of Bali.
any other suggestion for photography travelers !?

David & Intan June 6, 2023 - 3:18 pm

Hi Amar, thanks for your comment. Some other good options are Komodo, Lombok, or Sumba. Those are all near Bali. You can also find more suggestions for nice Indonesian islands here.

Lien June 6, 2023 - 2:24 pm

Hi David and Intan,

Did you book you train tickets at the station or in advance. If so please let us know the link. Are there more schedules available at the station?

David & Intan June 6, 2023 - 3:40 pm

Hi Lien, we bought our train tickets in advance at and then you just scan the e-ticket when you reach the station. I am not seeing the YK -> ML route on that site anymore for some reason, but you can still buy it at the KAI website.

Lien June 6, 2023 - 4:09 pm

Thank you David! We will take a look at the site. 👍🙏

Lien June 6, 2023 - 11:57 pm


You mentioned that it takes about an hour from ketapang to Bali but looking at Ferry it says 4+hours. It had several stops. Did you book your ferry on KAI?

Any recommendation where to stay in Bali/Ubud close to attractions. Any food/ places to eat recommendation? How about Durian? 😊. Much appreciated! Sorry for the trouble. You can email me…thanks!

David & Intan June 7, 2023 - 5:31 am

Hi Lien! The KAI site is only for the train. We didn’t book the ferry in advance and I’m not sure if you can. It always has seats available though, and there are departures every 20 minutes so it’s easy to get the next one. I just sent you an email for the other questions. 😊

Kyle August 15, 2023 - 11:48 pm

Hi, Great article super helpful! Question, I’m interested in doing what you did for Java: Malang > waterfalls > Bromo > Injen > ferry to Bali. I message the driver service you mentioned and they quoted $411 (6300.000 IDR). Does that sound correct?

David & Intan August 16, 2023 - 2:32 am

Hi! Yes that sounds about right for current prices.

Kyle August 17, 2023 - 12:56 am

Ok thanks!

Kyle August 22, 2023 - 2:13 pm

Sorry, one more question if it’s not too much trouble. When you booked your driver did you book all of your days at once or did you pay them daily? Also, did you pay for your driver’s accommodations? Did they include all of the fees in their price or did you pay that separately?

I’m trying to book a driver for 2 days: Kepanjen > Tumpaksewu > Cemorolawang > Bromo > Surabaya.

David & Intan August 22, 2023 - 2:34 pm

Sure. We booked it all at once, but paid per day. We didn’t pay for the driver’s accommodations, but some drivers do ask for that (since it’s a road trip with multiple days of travel), so it’s possible they may ask for that now. On our trip, we paid our own fees/tickets and hotels separately and only hired them for the transport. That sounds like a good 2 day itinerary for Tumpak Sewu and Bromo. Enjoy!

Kyle August 22, 2023 - 3:50 pm

Ok thanks. Did you pay ahead of time or day of?

David & Intan August 22, 2023 - 4:07 pm

We paid the day of.

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